Austin Community College District (ACC) honors our current and former military members for their service.
The college is dedicated to helping veterans reach their goals after retirement from active service. ACC Veterans Services provides assistance with benefits, degree and career planning, and counseling services.
We asked ACC students, faculty, and staff about their experience transitioning from military life and what Veterans Day means to them.
Meet Nicole L.
Meet Nicole L., who spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps, with four and a half years of active duty service and a year and a half in the reserves. She began studying Computer Science at ACC in fall 2022 and expects to graduate in spring 2024. She also works as a Training, Research, and Development Assistant in the ACC GROW program within Career Services.
How do you celebrate Veterans Day?
I wouldn’t say that I celebrate Veterans Day, but I DO celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday, which is one day prior (November 10)! I like to use Veterans Day as a time to reflect and to check in with people I served with. Also, I thank my family members who were and are currently in the military for their service.
Tell us about a significant memory either while you served or at ACC.
It’s hard taking the leap from everything you know in the military to civilian life. I was working as a contractor and in the reserves after I left active duty in 2020. I knew I wanted to go to school, but I also knew that there were a lot of unknowns down that path. I remember sitting down one day after work and deciding to take the leap almost two years later. I made plans to move to Austin, and a few months later, I enrolled at ACC. I couldn’t be happier with my decision, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be here.
What is one of the biggest challenges for our veteran students?
I’m not sure if I can speak for everyone, as our journeys when we leave the military can be vastly different. One challenge that I’ve shared with many others is assimilating into normal life. The military is a world of its own, and it can be a challenge to learn how to be a regular person again. Here at ACC, I’ve met so many faculty, staff, and students who have been so kind while I make the adjustment. I’m also deeply grateful to the Veterans Resource Center staff and the Student Veterans Association (SVA) for making this place home.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Any veterans and their families can find support and camaraderie at the Veterans Resource Center at Highland Campus. In addition, the SVA meets the first Friday of every month during semesters, and we are always glad to have more company and offer information to military-connected students.
Meet Elizabeth Collura-Rosenberg
Meet Elisabeth Collura-Rosenberg, an ACC alum and a Teaching Assistant/Special Projects Coordinator for the ACC Health & Kinesiology department. She graduated in August 2023 with a degree in Radio-Television-Film and Emerging Media Production.
Elisabeth served in the U.S. Army for seven years and the Texas National Guard for four years. She was released from military service as a Major (O4). She was also a helicopter pilot, rated in the CH-47D Chinook Cargo Helicopter and UH-60A/L Utility Helicopter, and was deployed to support combat operations in Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq. During her military service, she was stationed at Fort Rucker (now Fort Novosel), Alabama; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and Fort Hood, Texas.
“I am a servant leader and wanted to be a part of something bigger than me. I was offered a Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship during my sophomore year of undergraduate studies at Ohio University and a seat at the U.S. Army Parachute School (Airborne). I was already skydiving, so the leadership training and follow-on course were very salient.”
To her, Veterans Day is a time to reflect and extend gratitude to those who have served.
“An amazing part about the camaraderie is that being a veteran extends beyond your time in uniform. I have connected with other veterans over the years whom I may have only met since we ended our service, and I now consider them good friends. It is truly a fantastic network, both professionally and personally.”
Elisabeth says the skills she gained as a service member have helped her transition from the Army to ACC, first as a student and later in her teaching role.
“I lead and teach cooperatively with the mindset that everybody brings something to the table. When each individual works at their best capacity, the group can find a cohesive flow to accomplish the job right.”
For Elizabeth, attending college was an excellent experience to find support while adjusting to civilian life.
“ACC is one of the best institutions of higher learning I have had the privilege to attend. The faculty are industry-proven professionals who have been an integral part of my post-military service development. I felt honored and safe to dig deep into exploring who I really am and what I have to offer the world. Education is the path to freedom. Do what you love and leave your legacy.”
For more information about Veterans Services, click here.